ALL-HERALD GIRLS VOLLEYBALL: As usual, this team of court standouts among best in state

Published on Monday, 25 December 2017 16:24


This season proved to be an exciting one for the area girls volleyball teams, as all but one qualified for their respective state tournament. With so much team and individual success, the six players that made our All-Herald Girls Volleyball Team represent the best of the best in a highly competitive field.

Southington was the most successful of the seven area teams, reaching the Class LL semifinals where it lost to eventual champion Greenwich in four sets. After their playoff run and 18-3 record, the Blue Knights placed three on our team.

One of the most important players for Southington not only this season, but over the last couple, was Stephanie Zera. Known for her ability to distribute the ball, the senior outside setter finished her final high school season with 979 assists (9.3 per set) and her career with 2,000. Zera also recorded 229 digs, 62 aces and had a 90 percent success rate in serving.

That play helped Zera not only earn her second all-conference honor, but become an All-State selection as well. Although she hasn’t decided where she wants to attend college, she would like to keep playing, either for a school team or a club.

Joining Zera on our team is Hannah Zelina, another senior who was instrumental to the Blue Knights’ success this past season. A two-year starter as Southington’s middle hitter, Zelina made her senior season her best one. In 103 sets played, she recorded 196 kills, 48 blocks and 35 aces to go along with a 28.7 hitting percentage and earned an all-CCC selection as a result.

For her career, Zelina finished with 378 kills, 105 total blocks - 38 of which were solo - and 111 aces. A high honors student as well, Zelina is looking to play club or intramural volleyball in college.

Nolyn Allen is the final Southington player to make our team. The senior libero makes her second All-Herald selection after another strong season. Allen capped off her senior year with 455 digs, 537 serve receptions and 20 aces in 103 sets played. That consistency helped earn Allen her second all-conference selection.

Newington’s Blayne Wanner-Hyde is another player that makes our team for a second straight season. After missing the state tournament last season, the Indians made it back this year in part thanks to the play of their senior libero.

Wanner-Hyde tallied 262 assists this past season to go along with 46 aces and a 32.0 hitting percentage. She also earned a second consecutive all-conference selection. Just as strong in the classroom as on the court, Wanner-Hyde is a member of the National and English Honors Societies.

Bailee Nardi is Innovation’s first ever selection to make the All-Herald Girls Volleyball Team, and it is easy to see why. The outside hitter finished her senior season as one of the best players in the history of the Ravens’ program. Along with being named all-conference, Nardi became the first All-State volleyball player for Innovation.

Nardi recorded 178 kills, 67 aces, 57 digs and 20 blocks to help the Ravens earn their first conference tournament title and reach the Class S quarterfinals, winning their first state tournament game along the way. Nardi’s play earned her the team’s MVP award and the school’s Unity Team Award.

An academic all-conference choice as well, Nardi plans to attend either Campbell University, Vanderbilt University or Duke University next fall.

New Britain’s Raven Jarrett rounds out our All-Herald Girls Volleyball Team. The sophomore had a strong season in her first year on varsity, recording eight assists in the team’s first-round playoff game against Conard. Jarrett was rewarded with an all-CCC selection and head coach Michelle Abraham believes Jarrett has the potential to be one of the best players in the area.

With such a mixture of veteran and young talent, the six players on our team have shown they have the ability to compete with anyone in the state.

Posted in New Britain Herald, Berlin, Goodwin Tech, Innovation, New Britain, Newington, Plainville, Southington on Monday, 25 December 2017 16:24. Updated: Monday, 25 December 2017 16:26.